If you know something about residential or commercial maintenance, and you're looking for something that's a combination of working in a home office and hands on work, then a property management service might be just the home based business for you to start.
A property management service is one of the most lucrative businesses to start, whether you choose to work from home, or set up in a traditional office. For the purposes of this article, however, we'll focus on the home based property management service, and how you can get started right away.
Check your local and state regulatory agencies to make certain that the business you start will stay within the confines of the law. More than likely, this will require a business license, tax identification number, etc., however, in some localities, you will need to be careful about the actual services that you offer, as these services may even require a real estate license.
Research the local market to determine if there is a need for the services that you're planning to offer, and if so, how much competition you'll face as a new business owner.
Make a highly detailed list of what services you will offer. No generalized list. Break it down into as much detail as possible. Include inspections, cleaning, tenant issues, maintenance, landscaping, etc., in your list.
Decide what you will charge for each type of property and for the different levels of service you will offer. For example, if you will regularly manage the entire property, then you'll want to consider charging a fixed rate for certain services. If you will only manage certain aspects of the property, then you may charge a different rate, or you may choose to charge for each service you perform. Make sure that you factor the size and type of property that you will manage into your pricing.
Plan and begin marketing your new business. The best way to reach absentee owners is through the use of the internet, but consider other ways to market your business, such as placing ads in your local newspaper under the services section.
Gather the tools that you will need to perform each of the services you intend to offer, and have them available (in your trunk, pickup, etc.) when you meet with prospective clients. Not only will this provide the appearance that you're already managing other properties, but it lends credibility to your claims that you will do an excellent job with their property.
As you begin to get responses to your marketing efforts, you will typically meet the owners at their property to discuss the services that you have to offer, and why they should allow you to manage their property versus the current arrangements that they have in place. Even if you have to negotiate a bit to land your first customer, do so! Remember, word of mouth is your best advertisement, and your first customer will most likely be your best reference, and may help you land your next customer...and your next...and so on!